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One week before terrorists attacked Mumbai in late November, Ruth Messinger led an American Jewish World Service Study Tour to India that offered a very different glimpse of the country than that revealed in the wake of the tragedy. Eighteen supporters of AJWS explored the sources of injustice against India’s poor, and met grassroots leaders working across the country to overcome it. What they saw gave room for hope: in a support group for battered women, in the homes of HIV homecare providers and at a clinic for intravenous drug users in Mumbai’s slums, they encountered again and again the courageous people working to diminish the stigma and discrimination within the caste system and advocate for equal rights for all of India’s people. Our grief at the loss of 163 innocent lives and AJWS’s proximity to the attacks make the beauty of India’s grassroots activism all the more poignant.
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